Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Perspectives on the Environment DUMF4039

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Students will examine environmental issues and attitudes by engaging with a range of written and visual texts, produced between the Romantic period and the present, which bring into focus the historical roots of contemporary Western cultural and political perspectives on the environment. The course encourages students already familiar with environmental stewardship to reflect on cultural ideas of living and working in the environment.


1 x 2hr lecture followed by a 1hr seminar per week

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Students should satisfy normal honours entry requirements for their programme of study.

Recommended Entry Requirements

Excluded Courses



Environmental Stewardship Project (DUMF4008P)

Environmental Policy and Management

Restoration Ecology Field course


Project Work (taking the form of e.g. a poster or blog, changing annually and to be negotiated with the class): 20%

Essay: 50%

Presentation: 20%

Contribution: 10%

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

1. To provide students with a survey of major developments in cultural and ethical attitudes to the environment since the late C18 to the present.

2. To analyse the social and historical reasons for the development of changing environmental attitudes during this period.

3. To develop an understanding of the social construction of ideas about and definitions of 'nature.'

4. To examine a range of texts which illuminate or illustrate topics associated with human inhabitation of the environment, such as place, work and interactions with animals, as well as the wider issue of environmental threat.

5. To have students consider their own ecological stance, identifying how cultural attitudes influence their own practice personally and professionally.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


1. Explain the development of cultural and ethical attitudes to the environment since the late C18 to the present.

2. Demonstrate understanding of the social and historical reasons for these ideological and attitudinal shifts.

3. Demonstrate understanding of the social construction of a perceived environment.

4. Critically analyse texts which take the natural world, and human interaction with it, as their primary theme.

5. Account for their own ecological stance in cultural and ideological terms, explaining how this relates to personal attitudes and professional practice.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.